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The Item: IFBB Pro League Contest Results, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: Over the weekend, IFBB Pro Juan Morel won the 2012 Hartford Pro Bodybuilding Championships (Europa Battle of Champions) in Connecticut. IFBB Pro Moe Bannout finished in 2nd place. IFBB Pro Essa Obaid took 3rd place. IFBB Pro Fred Smalls took 4th place in the lineup, bumping up from his 2011 5th place spot at this contest, which went to IFBB Pro Renaldo Gairy this year.

The remaining field: IFBB Pro Jamal Elmadawy (6th), IFBB Pro Jeff Long (7th), IFBB Pro Adorthus Cherry (8th), IFBB Pro Alexandre Nataf (9th), IFBB Pro Grigori Atoyan (10th), bumping up from the 212 Division IFBB Pro Hennie Kotze (11th), IFBB Pro Mark Antonek (12th), and IFBB Pro Randy Reittinger (13th).

The "So What?": As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series Point System: (1st automatic qualification, 2nd - 4 Points, 3rd - 3 Points, 4th - 2 Points, 5th - 1 Point) applies to IFBB Pro League athletes' eligibility to compete at Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend (September 29) and challenge reigning Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Phil Heath. This event marks Juan Morel's first win in a professional bodybuilding contest. The rookie pro (who earned his IFBB Pro card by winning the Super-Heavyweight Class and Overall title at the 2011 IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championships) had last competed at the 2012 New York Pro, where he took 4th place (behind winner IFBB Pro Cedric McMillan). IFBB Pro Troy Alves won the Hartford Pro last year. This year, the fitness expo in Connecticut held strongman, MMA, CrossFit, and powerlifting events.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: There was some post-contest chatter about whether the well-conditioned Essa Obaid (winner of the 2009 Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding Championships and 2010 IFBB Dallas Pro Europa SuperShow) should have placed higher in Hartford; however, Juan Morel brought more of the necessary physique elements to take the show from him and Moe Bannout (cousin of 1983 Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Samir Bannout) and collect the sough-after automatic Olympia qualification to compete in Las Vegas against Phil Heath, as well as IFBB Pro Branch Warren, the Arnold Sports Festival's 2-time IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Champion, who guest-posed in Hartford.

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